Diario del proyecto Casual Woodland Garden

Archivos de diario de diciembre 2022

08 de diciembre de 2022

Wild Humans

Some of the ways I've tried to include humans in my ecologically restored woods. I think about what happens when I'm gone or decide to sell. What will make future owners decide to carry the restoration work forward or at least preserve the woods?

Woodland restoration observation platform (aka treehouse). Built on a black locust stump.

Lately I've been using black locust logs to line my trails. They don't rot, which gives time for moss to form on the logs... I like the texture and feel of the moss. I use eastern red cedar chips on my trails. Eastern red is a common regional native and the chips are fragrant and rot resistant.

Black locust wall. Built with the upper 3/4 of the same tree that the treehouse is built on.

The wall, pictured above, allowed me to level out a small area for a fire pit below the tree house...

Decorative rock walls using "free" craigslist fieldstone transported down the hill in a wheelbarrow. Part of the goal was to see what one person could accomplish with free materials and working in the margins over a long period of time.

Made a rope swing during honeysuckle removal. Tied a fishing line to a baseball and threw it over the highest strong branch I could find. Then pulled a bigger string over the same branch using the fishing line. And finally pulled the heavy rope over the branch with the string. The trick is to leave the heavy rope twice as long as you need it and tie a loop in one end to pull the other end of the rope through the loop from the ground (so you don't have to climb the tree). It is very hard to find a "professional" to build you a rope swing. If you paddle the Little Miami they exist all up and down its banks. Built by all sorts of people with varying degrees of skill. Some of them are completely unsafe. But you can't deny their charm.

I openly admit that each of my projects to entice humans has had a negative impact ecologically. I tell myself that I'm on the positive side of the ledger having given back via invasive removals while taking the space for the rock walls, trails, and fire-pit. If an added bonus is that future owners are more able to appreciate (and keep) the natural space, the loss of what would have been additional ecologically pure areas will have been worth it.

Posted on 08 de diciembre de 2022 by stockslager stockslager | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

21 de diciembre de 2022

Solomon's Seal of Approval

This colony of Maianthemum Racemosum (False Solomon’s Seal) is my biggest success story since the start of the woodland restoration. It was just a few scraggly plants before removing the honeysuckle. There is now a large colony, varying in density, across the entire ¾ of an acre.

The colony started expanding with the initial removal of honeysuckle. It really took off when I started pulling garlic mustard. It surprised me so much that I looked around on google scholar for an explanation. And… there is one. ... https://bsapubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.3732/ajb.0800184

The study provides some evidence that garlic mustard can inhibit mycorrhizal colonization of Maianthemum roots, thereby inhibiting growth. I had fumbled around long enough to find something that encouraged this plant. What I did is the opposite of real science. Only looking for science after I observed something that had already happened. I had no controls in place to allow me to infer anything. But it didn't matter. Seeing the Maianthemum expand while I forced the honeysuckle and garlic mustard colonies to contract was enough for me.

One of the questions during any restoration is… What, if anything, should be reestablished following invasive removals? This anecdotal evidence suggests that Mainthemum is a good candidate when a tree canopy exists but the honeysuckle understory has been removed. This is especially true when garlic mustard is managed after the honeysuckle removal. The tree canopy provides dappled shade but there is still plenty of sunlight for the Mainthemum. Without the garlic mustard, it has a chance to thrive.

It also suggests that targeted restorations can begin where a struggling colony of Maianthemum exists. Honeysuckle and garlic mustard immediately next to the struggling colony could be removed first. As the False Solomon's seal expands, so too does the restoration. Working outward with invasive removals as the desirable colony expands.

The only plant that rebounded as aggressively as Mainthemum was White Snakeroot. I’d be perfectly happy with White Snakeroot dominating the herbaceous layer, but my backyard is in a very residential neighborhood. The False Solomon’s Seal is pretty enough to appear intentional. Neighbors are less apt to arch an eyebrow. Distant future owners of my backyard are less likely to rip it out and plant grass.

The web of life for each plant is also worth considering. White Snakeroot is EXTREMELY common in my region. False Solomon’s Seal, somewhat less so. Any downstream insects and animals relying on White Snakeroot will have plenty available. The insects and animals relying on False Solomon’s Seal will be thankful for my work.

Posted on 21 de diciembre de 2022 by stockslager stockslager | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario